ESD Tours MSU Atom Smasher — Photo Gallery

EAST LANSING — Here’s a look at what members of The Engineering Society of Detroit saw on their Jan. 15 tour of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory on the campus of Michigan State University.

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Zachary Constan, outreach director of the NSCL, gives a presentation on the atom smasher and its $700-million-plus successor, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, now under construction at MSU and scheduled for completion in 2022.

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Constan demonstrates superconductivity with a little liquid nitrogen. Don’t get any on your hands.

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The pioneering twin superconducting cyclontrons now in use at the MSU lab. They’re scheduled to be torn out when the FRIB takes over.

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ESD members touring the submarine-like hallways of the NSCL.

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In the five-story main chamber of the NSCL.

 

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One of the NSCL’s big magnets is designated D2. Said Constan: “No, the other one is not called R2. But it should be.”
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Constan tells ESD members about construction of one of the electromagnets that bends beams of atomic nuclei.
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The original wooden mockup — made in the 1970s, before CAD software — of the NSCL’s first cyclotron.

 

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An ESD tour member tries out the manually operated six-foot-thick concrete door that rises out of the floor to seal the NSCL cyclotron chamber.

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This is it — the cyclotron itself. Obviously, not in use at the moment.
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As you can see, scientists and researchers from all over the world have used the NSCL.

 

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This is the chart of the nuclides — all the known isotopes of all the elements. It’s sort of the Periodic Table of the Elements on steroids. Science says there may be 7,000 isotopes of all the elements. We’ve so far discovered about 3,000. The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams is designed to boost that lower number.

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Another view of an isotope/nuclides chart.

 

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The control room of the NSCL, which was down for maintenance when we visited.
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Somebody at the NSCL is a fan of the Simpsons.
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A big new cyclotron that will eventually be used in reverse — to slow down nuclei in the FRIB from their journey up to 57 percent of the speed of light.

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Another view of the braking cyclotron.
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This is a relatively small linear particle accelerator at the NSCL. It’s essentially a miniature version of the FRIB.

 

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Zach Constan shows us one of the niobium chambers that will accelerate particles in the FRIB. Niobium is a metal that’s superconducting at extremely low temperatures. It’s about as expensive as silver but not nearly as pretty. Unless you’re a particle physics researcher.

 

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A big spool of copper wire used to create the innards of the NSCL and the FRIB. Much prettier than niobium.
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This hole in the ground will be the $730 million FRIB by 2022. Not much to see yet, although a lot of the civil construction has been done, including the main accelerator chamber underground.

 

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